PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

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British Aid For Education in Pakistan

A new British aid package for Pakistan, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in Islamabad, is worth $1,055 million over four years. The money will fund education for up to 4 million students, train 9,000 teachers, purchase 6 million new text books and build 8,000 schools by 2015, according to various media reports.

Announcing new aid, Cameron said, “I struggle to find a country that’s more in our interest to progress and succeed than Pakistan." “If Pakistan succeeds then we will have a good story ... if it fails we will have all the problems of migration and extremism, all the problems", he added.

With growth in the last decade, a number of countries like China, India and Pakistan have transitioned from low- to middle-income status under World Bank classifications. But China and India together still account for about half of the world's poor, and most of the illiterates, according to The Guardian. The focus of the OECD nations and the World Bank should be on helping all of the poor people regardless of whether they live in low-income or middle-income countries. Such help needs to be specifically targeted toward human development programs like education and healthcare.

Earlier this year, a Pakistani government commission on education found that public funding for education has been cut from 2.5% of GDP in 2005 to just 1.5% - less than the annual subsidy given to the PIA, the national airline that continues to run huge losses.

The commission reported that 25 million children in Pakistan do not attend school, a right guaranteed in the country's constitution, and three million children will never in their lives attend a lesson, according to the BBC.

The report added that while rich parents send their children to private schools and later abroad to college or university, a third of all Pakistanis have spent less than two years at school.

Among the key findings of the commission are the following:

* 30,000 school buildings are so neglected that they are dangerous
* 21,000 schools do not have a school building at all
* Only half of all women in Pakistan can read, in rural areas the figure drops to one third
* There are 26 countries poorer than Pakistan which still manage to send more of their children to school
* Only 65% of schools have drinking water, 62% have latrines, 61% a boundary wall and 39% have electricity

The report concluded that Pakistan - in contrast to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - has no chance of reaching the UN's Millennium Development Goals for education by 2015.

Will the additional British aid bring new focus on education in Pakistan? Is it still possible for Pakistan to achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals for education by 2015? I certainly hope so, but it will take a renewed national focus in both public and private sectors of the country.

Fortunately, there are a number of highly committed individuals and organizations like The Citizens Foundation (TCF) and the Human Development Foundation (HDF) which are very active in raising funds and building and operating schools to improve the situation in Pakistan. It is important that all of us who care for the future of Pakistan should generously help these and similar other organizations.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Must Fix Primary Education

Teach For Pakistan

Developing Pakistan's Intellectual Capital

Intellectual Wealth of Nations

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers

Student Performance By Country and Race

India Shining and Bharat Drowning

South Asian IQs

Low Literacy Rates Threaten Pakistan's Future

Light a Candle, Don't Curse Darkness

Mobile Phones For Mass Literacy in Pakistan

Poor Quality of Higher Education in South Asia

Teaching Facts vs Reasoning

Views: 157

Tags: British, Education, Pakistan, Schools

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 10, 2011 at 7:54am
The quality of primary and secondary education is clearly important in preparing students for higher education, and there has lately been a lot of hand wringing on about declining test scores in the US, particularly with respect to minority kids in schools.

Here are some of my thoughts on it:

1. With a PISA reading score of 500, US kids outperformed those in Germany( 497), France (496) and UK (494).

2. Based on PISA reading scores as analyzed by Steve Sailer, US Asians (score 541) are just below Shanghai students (556), US whites (525) outperform all of their peers in Europe except the Finns, and US Hispanics (466) and US Blacks (441) significantly outperform kids in dozens of countries spread across Asia, Latin America and Middle East.

For example, US Hispanics did better than Turks, Russians, Serbians, and all of Latin America.

In fact US Hispanics outperformed all BRIC nations with the exception of China.

And US Blacks did better than Bulgaria, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, Jordan, Indonesia, Argentina, etc.

3. The only data available for India is 2003 TIMMS on which they ranked 46 on a list of 51 countries. Their score was 392 versus avg of 467. They performed very poorly. It was contained in a report titled "India Shining and Bharat Drowning".

I think Pakistani kids would probably also perform poorly on PISA and TIMMS if these tests administered there.
Comment by Riaz Haq on October 17, 2012 at 8:54am

Here's Guardian on effectiveness of British aid for Pak education and health:

..A report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), assistance....

The watchdog found that the education programme had improved the quality of learning, and had shown promising early results. However, a programme for maternal and newborn health showed "significant shortcomings", and there were concerns that the humanitarian projects had done little to prepare Pakistan for future disasters.

Overall, ICAI, which scrutinises UK aid, rated the country programme green/amber in its traffic light ratings system, which means it performed relatively well and provided value for money, but needed improvements.

Pakistan is set to become the largest recipient of UK bilateral aid. The Department for International Development (DfID) views the country as strategically important and announced an increase in aid after its bilateral aid review last year. UK aid has already trebled from £87m to £267m between 2007-08 and 2011-12, and is expected to reach £446m by 2014-15.

A chunk of the money will be spent on education, including on an ambitious programme in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and another in Punjab, aimed at getting more children into school and delivering a quality education. The department's health and nutrition programmes are expected to total around £160m. The report said DfID "has no track record of delivering programmes on this scale".

The team will be delivering these programmes in a difficult environment. Pakistan ranks low on Transparency International's corruption perceptions index – coming 134th out of 182 countries – and has weak auditing and budgeting procedures. The country has experienced natural and manmade disasters over recent years, including conflict in the Swat valley that displaced around 3 million people, and severe flooding in 2010 and 2011 that affected millions of people and disrupted development programmes. The country is also devolving federal power to the provinces. "This suggests that scaling up of the country programme needs to be approached cautiously and with a very active risk management stance," said the report.

The report welcomed DfID's cash transfer scheme in areas hit by flooding, but "while its humanitarian projects are well conceived, DfID has only limited engagement at present in building capacity for disaster risk reduction or management, to increase resilience to future disasters", despite recommendations in 2008 that more needed to be done in this area.

The design of the health programme, which trained community midwives in rural areas to support women who are not able to give birth in a health centre, was problematic, as it was competing with an existing network of trained community health workers created under another national health programme. Devolution resulted in the abolition of DfID's partner in the programme, the national Ministry of Health, which meant ownership of the project was unclear. The health programme is now being redesigned.

ICAI recommended that DfID encourages more private-sector involvement in delivering health and education services, considers making resilience to natural disasters at household and community level a core part of its programme, and implements agreed standards and procedures to ensure transparency and accountability in budgeting.

"Overall, we found that the DfID Pakistan programme is dynamic and innovative, with a good range of impressive initiatives," said Graham Ward, the ICAI chief commissioner. "DfID has no track record, however, of delivering programmes in Pakistan on the scale that is now contemplated. Delivering aid there also involves considerable challenges, so we believe that the planned programme scale-up needs to be approached carefully."..

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 30, 2012 at 10:20pm

Here's a News story on British aid for social sector development in Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD: United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for International Development (DFID) has committed to provide £266 million in shape of grants to Pakistan during the current fiscal year in areas of education, poverty alleviation, development in Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), as disclosed during the House of Commons Committee’s review meeting.

The objective of the meeting was to assess aid effectiveness being provided by the UK to Pakistan over the medium term. “During the review meeting, the UK delegation pressed upon Islamabad authorities to improve the country’s fiscal situation by mobilising tax revenues and abolishing untargeted subsidies,” said an official source.

“Aid provided by the DFID would gradually increase by up to £446 million by 2014-15,” said Javed Iqbal, secretary of Economic Affairs Division. “The DFID is providing financial assistance to enhance the number of enrolled children in school by up to four million as well as for other areas, including health, poverty alleviation and improved governance.”

DFID has planned to provide £155 million to the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for unconditional cash transfer over medium to long term, while another £124 million would be provided for conditional cash transfer under the BISP programme under Waseela-e-Taleem programme. “DFID would provide four million pounds for the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) under the World Bank’s supervision to undertake development projects in Balochistan and FATA,” said an official source.

According to DFID’s findings, almost 60 million Pakistanis – equivalent to the entire UK population – lives below the food poverty line. Pakistan is off-track on the education and health millennium development goals. Half of all adults, and two out of every three women, are illiterate. One in eleven children die before their fifth birthday and 14,000 mothers die during childbirth.

This entrenched poverty leads to suffering, lost opportunity and a sense of grievance; all of which undermine Pakistan’s long-term stability and prosperity. Comparatively poor data in Pakistan and frequent crises exacerbate the challenge of assessing development programmes.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 21, 2013 at 9:04pm
British secretary of DfID in Pakistan, reports Asian Age:

Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for International Development, Justine Greening, is in Pakistan.

She confirmed confirmed the UK’s commitment to help support four million of Pakistan’s children in school during a visit to two schools in Rawalpindi.

Justine Greening said: “Education is the single most important factor that can transform Pakistan’s future.

"Education helps to increase economic growth and will give the next generation of Pakistanis the chance to build a better future for themselves and their families.

"That’s why education is the UK’s number one priority in Pakistan. We will continue to work with Pakistan, as a partner, to help support four million children in school by 2015.”

Over the next six years alone, UK support for the planned Punjab Education Sector Programme, working with government and other donors, will help an additional 2.9 million children gain access to education, 71 per cent of whom will be girls.

Progress by the Government of Punjab has seen the primary enrolment rate for girls rise to 68 per cent (from 59 per cent) across the province, and to 64 per cent (from 55 per cent) in rural areas, between 2006 and 2010.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the UK’s education programme is focusing on tackling the educational disadvantages faced by girls, providing monthly ‘stipends’ so that poor families can send their girls to school and helping them to stay longer by investing in secondary education facilities for girls schools. 400,000 girls received vouchers this year.

And a new Education Fund for Sindh will educate 200,000 children through vouchers for low cost private sector schools, by working with organisations educating the poor and by supporting public private education partnerships. In its first year, the Education Fund for Sindh is already supporting the education of over 11,600 children.

She also met with Minister of Finance Hafeez Shaikh.

Justine Greening said: “I am pleased to be in Pakistan to see for myself the results that UK aid is helping to deliver in transforming people’s lives and to reiterate the close and enduring bond that our two countries share.

“The elections are a crucial milestone in Pakistan’s democratic history. We look forward to the peaceful transition of power with elections that are credible and support economic reforms that will help Pakistan thrive in the future providing basic services for a fast growing population. The UK stands ready to support Pakistan’s effort to deal with these critical issues.”

The UK’s aid programme is linked to the Government of Pakistan’s progress on results and reform at both the federal and provincial levels, particularly following the upcoming elections.

Discussions between the British Development Secretary and Minister of Finance focused on steps being taken to build a more dynamic economy, strengthen the country’s tax base and tackle corruption.


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